Supporting the Mekong River Commission on organisational development

Project description

Title: Supporting the Mekong River Commission on organisational development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: Mekong River Commission (MRC)
Overall term: 2015 to 2018


The Mekong River Commission (MRC) was established in 1995 with the mandate of managing the Mekong Basin in an integrated and sustainable way. It received substantial support from international donors for this work, including from Germany.

Since then, economic growth in the region has accelerated and technical competencies and capacities have equally increased. A set of river basin management functions currently being fulfilled by the MRC Secretariat can now be taken on by the relevant national institutions in the member states, in line with the decision made by the member states to achieve full ownership of the MRC by 2030.

This requires a comprehensive organisational reform process that defines the functions and tasks of the MRC as a river basin organisation, clarifies responsibilities, and coordinates and promotes their implementation at the national and regional level.


MRC improves the sustainable delivery of core river basin management functions at the national and regional level in the Mekong basin.




In order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the MRC in transboundary water management, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is providing comprehensive advisory services on organisational development and decentralisation. The advisory services concentrate primarily on the following:

developing a new structure for the MRC Secretariat;

  • continued decentralisation of functions to the member states;
  • introduction of a Basket Fund as a sustainable financing mechanism for MRC;
  • professional management of the downscaling of personnel in line with the reform aims;
  • development and implementation of a consistent planning, monitoring and evaluation system.

The reform process is accompanied by an exchange of experiences with other river basin commissions, international organisations and other stakeholders in transboundary water management.


A detailed implementation roadmap for the decentralisation and overall reform process has been developed with support from GIZ. For example, the technical and financial responsibility for monitoring rainfall and water levels has been handed over to all MRC member states. The project is also helping to strengthen the resources and capacities of the MRC Secretariat for all functions that remain centralised, such as flood forecasting and the implementation and monitoring of MRC regulations and procedures.

A new organisational structure has been in place since July 2016 and a comprehensive recruitment process has been implemented to staff the new structure, and planning processes have been streamlined. A Basket Fund is now operational and the move to a new financial management and information system is ongoing. The MRC staff, administration and finance manuals are being revised, in line with the recent changes, and a complete dispute settlement mechanism for staff-related issues is being introduced. Options for future working arrangements between the Secretariat and the line agencies of the four Member Countries have been discussed in-depth, resulting in approval of four Expert Groups that will begin convening in 2018.

This project is a component of the programme

Further information